Change to Fair Work Act: Casual Employment Reform
The Fair Work Act has recently been amended to change the workplace rights of casual employees. It is important that employers review the new rules, understand the new employer obligations and ensure compliance.
Casual employee definition
A person is a casual employee if they accept an offer for a job from an employer knowing that there is no firm advance commitment to ongoing work with an agreed pattern of work.
Key changes to casual employment rules
1. It is now a legal requirement that employers provide the Casual Employment Information Statement (CEIS) to any existing and future casual employees. The CEIS outlines information which casual employees should know including their rights under the amended Fair Work Act. A copy of the CEIS is available from the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
2. Subject to some exceptions, employers are now required to offer casual employees the option to convert their casual employment into permanent employment if the employees:
- have worked for them for at least 12 months; and
- worked a regular pattern of hours for at least the last 6 months on an ongoing basis; and
- the regular hours could continue as a permanent basis without significant changes.
If the employer does not offer casual conversion, they must write to the employee within 21 days of their 12-month work anniversary notifying the decision for not offering the casual conversion and their reasons.
There are a few instances where the employer may be exempt from offering the permanent employment conversion:
- The employer is a small business employer – generally this refers to a business that employs less than 15 employees.
- There are reasonable grounds for not making an offer. Some examples of reasonable grounds are:
- The employee’s position will not exist
- The employee’s hours of work will significantly reduce
- The employee’s days or times of work will significantly change, and that can not be accommodated within the employee’s available days or times for work.
3. In addition, casual employees (including those of small business employers) also have ongoing right to request to convert to permanent employment if they meet additional conditions to those listed above.
Changes to employment law and workforce arrangements can often impact the overall tax and compliance obligations for employers and can be an opportune time for a review to ensure all compliance needs are being met. If you would like to discuss in relation to your business, please contact your O’Brien Advisor.